Viktor PIROZHENKO: Soros as the Mirror of the US Politics in the Post-Soviet Space

27 February, 2009

US Vice President Joe Biden’s speech at the Munich Security Conference and a number of less notable statements made by US officials revived the discussions of the US strategy in the post-Soviet space. Recently the notorious financial megaspeculator George Soros contributed to the discourse with his articles in the Russian Vedomosti (the Russian partner of The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal) entitled ‘Global Anticrisis Policy: Create New Money’ (February 10), ‘An Alternative to Geopolitics: the Russian Problem’ (February 12), and ‘A Crisis Landscape: the Geopolitics of Cheap Oil’ (February 16).

Soros has always been a supporter of the US Democratic Party and a critic of G. Bush’s politics. His ideas may be regarded as an expression of the foreign politics objectives of B. Obama’s administration and the methods it is going to employ to pursue them. Soros suggests to Europe a dual strategy – the defense against the newly assertive and aggressive Russia and the encouragement of the strivings for democracy, open society, and international cooperation to prevail over geopolitics.

Soros writes: ‘A key policy for neutralizing Russia’s geopolitical advantage will be for Europe to agree on a united energy policy, including the creation of an EU energy regulator with powers above those of national regulators and to establish a pan-European distribution grid. That will take away Russia’s ability to play off countries against one another’. Soros believes that the rule of law and the principles of the open society (Soros claims to have authored the latter term) should be promoted indirectly with the help of a reform of the international financial system with a special attention to the countries neighboring Russia. He says ‘assistance should be rendered to Georgia to help it recover from the effects of the Russian invasion’, but the proportions of the aid should be made contingent on Saakashvili’s readiness to observe the above principles of the open society (in other words, to act as the conductor of the US politics). In Soros’s opinion, likewise direct assistance to Russia is impossible, but he projects that seeing the progress in the international cooperation, especially with China, Russia will hardly opt to stay outside the process. ‘The strengthening and the support of the post-Soviet Republics will serve both aspects of the EU dual strategy with respect to Russia’, says Soros.

Soros’s ideas reflect the thinking traditional for the US Democratic Party. For it, implanting globally the US values presented as universal is an end in itself. As we know from the past, the US missionary endeavors of the kind can pose a greater peril to the CIS countries and the world than G. Bush’s blunt unilateralism. It was Democratic US President B. Clinton who unleashed the barbarian aggression against Yugoslavia under the US missionary banner.

US analysts coined the term ‘new unilateralism’ to describe the foreign-politics stance of the Republican neocons. In essence it denotes the pursuit by the US of exclusively its own imperialist objectives. This is the explanation of the former US Administration’s tendency to ignore permanent alliances and to replace them with coalitions of the willing, which was heavily criticized by the Democrats and Soros in particular. The approach ranging countries not on the basis of their adherence to Euro-Atlantic values but on that of their readiness to act as the US allies in the war against terror (or, potentially, against some other phantom) is regarded by Democrats as not being ideologically charged to a sufficient extent.

Under the Democratic Administration the US is likely to revert to the reliance on NATO in collective security affairs and to start restoring the influence of its NATO partners and the alliance as a whole. New NATO members will probably be given secondary roles in the implementation of Washington’s foreign politics.

The post-Soviet Republics have already felt the escalation of the ‘soft’ pressure of the US aimed at getting them involved in the isolation of Russia, initially on the ideological level and in the future in politics and the economy. Washington’s methods include manipulating the public opinion and buying the loyalty of the Republics’ ruling classes.

The analysis of the views held by Soros and Obama’s consultants like Z. Brzezinski reveals the details of the US strategy in the post-Soviet space and in the relations with Russia in particular. Essentially it amounts to avoiding direct pressure but isolating Russia and pushing it out of all significant projects in the spheres of energy and the economy in general as well as culture, security, etc. The collective efforts of the Euro-Atlantic community to be reinstated under the US patronage rather than the individual efforts made by the US in concert with loose coalitions of the willing – as under former US President G. Bush – should lead to the materialization of the plan.

Obama’s Administration plans to act in two directions in Eurasia. One is to draw the CIS countries into the orbit of the anti-Russian politics. The other is to promote a consensus between the old and new Europe with the purpose of formulating a common European energy politics.

The financial support to the CIS countries around Russia will be offered under the banner of promoting the principles of the open society. Translated from Soros’s newspeak this means supporting those who regard themselves as the allies of the US in the struggle against Russia. The US will focus on advancing its interests in Georgia and Ukraine by spreading the US value system among the populations of the countries and exerting disguised pressure on them (mainly by buying the local political classes).

For Soros and Brzezinski it is logical that the interests of the US are best secured in the countries where the local elites if not the entire populations have converted to the value system implanted by the US and serve it sincerely – or because they are paid to do so.

The reliance of the new US Administration on collective Euro-Atlantic activity manifests itself in Soros’s recommendations concerning the energy strategy. The establishment of a regulator with powers above those of national ones has long been a dream of some pygmy anti-Russian regimes in East Europe. The arrangement would allow them to block the pragmatic politics of the old Europe seeking to cooperate with Russia on energy issues.

The key circumstance is that the priorities of the pygmy regimes – in Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and, since 2005, Ukraine – are not economic but geopolitical. It was their geopolitically important location between Russia and the old Europe that they have been selling quite successfully to Washington.

In contrast, the old Europe’s strategy is guided by economic considerations and a position in foreign politics which is relatively autonomous from the US. Soros prefers to ignore the fact that Berlin, Paris, and Rome may be unwilling to submit their rights to chart their energy policies to a supranational – and likely US-installed – regulator.

The absence of a pan-European energy policy is explained not by Moscow’s games with European countries outside the EU context but by the fundamental divergences between the old and the new Europe in the relations with Russia which as of today make a common EU strategy impossible.

Ukraine is given a nearly central role in the plans of Obama’s Administration to isolate Russia. Probably, the US will push for Ukraine’s informal and unannounced NATO membership and will interact with Kyiv as a de facto NATO member. Special attention will be paid to building the US ideological influence in Ukraine. The US will, in particular, boost the support of various NGOs in the country.

Not being a NATO country Ukraine under President Yushchenko nevertheless assumes obligations normal for the members of the bloc. The relocation of some of Ukraine’s armed forces to the Russian border mentioned in December, 2008 by Ukraine’s Chief of Staff S. Kirichenko means in fact the participation of the country in the strengthening of the NATO perimeter. The Ukraine-NATO agreement on military transit across Ukraine which President Yushchenko authorized Defense Minister Yekhanurov to sign is nothing but a step towards full NATO membership.

A recent example is the February 18 ratification by the Ukrainian parliament of additional protocols to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Ukrainian government and NATO. The Memorandum says a NATO Information and Documentation Center will be established in Ukraine and NATO liaison officers will be dispatched to the country. Additional protocols grant diplomatic privileges to the officers of the center and their family members.

If Ukraine continues to fulfill strictly the obligations normally imposed on NATO countries while staying outside the alliance the European partners of the US may get convinced that Ukraine should be admitted without the normally required procedures simply to legitimize the existing situation. Therefore we should expect the US to grow increasingly active in the role of the arbiter in disputes between the old and the new Europe and the European NATO countries – to get increasingly involved in drawing Ukraine into the alliance.

Under the circumstances it is extremely important for the people of Ukraine to oust from power the politicians who have turned the country into an instrument of advancing the US interests in Eurasia at the cost of a confrontation with Russia, which is Ukraine’s main and most natural ally.

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

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